Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway
Extrema are a thrash metal band from Milan, Italy that formed in 1986 and is still highly active at this time. The band’s initial lineup included guitarist Tommy Massara, vocalist/ guitarist Andrea Boria, bassist Luca Varisco, and drummer Stefano Bullegas. They are considered by many people to be Italy’s first real, valid thrash band.
In 1987, Extrema released their four-song début EP, ‘We Fuckin’ Care’, which did something totally astounding. It sold an impressive 3,000+ copies by word of mouth alone! However, Extrema would struggle for recognition for nearly half a decade thereafter.
After the EP’s initial success, Extrema underwent several lineup changes between 1988 – 1991. They continued to issue demos and promos through ’91, or so. The band, now with new members Gianluca Perotti on vocals, Mattia Bigi on bass, and Chris Dalla Pellegrina on drums, alongside Massara, began making headway again. Doors were opening as they landed support slots for the likes of Slayer, D.R.I., and Corrosion Of Conformity, but they knew they had to branch out in some way.
Extrema started aggressively shopping their demos to international heavy metal critics and even financed a trip to New York City for a one-off gig. The strategy worked, and their four-track demo (from 1991) was soon making waves with some major international publications, eventually leading to a record deal with Contempo Records.
1993 saw the release of Extrema’s official full-length début, Tension At The Seams, and by all accounts, the band had arrived! The album’s success led to Extrema being given stadium support slots for Italian rock star Vasco Rossi. More importantly, the guys were added to a high-profile metal festival appearance in Turin alongside Metallica, Suicidal Tendencies, The Cult, and Megadeth.
Plus, two of the album’s tracks garnered their own moderate successes. One, a cover of The Police’s “Truth Hits Everybody“, was quite popular. Second, Extrema filmed a video clip for the track “Child O’ Boogaow”, which received heavy rotation on Italy’s MTV affiliate, VideoMusic. Before the end of ’93, Extrema issued a six-track live EP entitled ‘Proud, Powerful ‘n’ Alive’.
Extrema would sign with a new label at this time, Flying Records, from which they would release their next studio full-length. 1995’s ‘The Positive Pressure (Of Injustice)‘ boasted improved production values, while updating their thrash metal style.
The influence of more groove-oriented bands like Pantera and Machine Head was quite evident on this album, as was the infusion of more melody. By this time, Extrema was also well-versed at understanding the benefit of music videos like this one for ‘Money Talks” from this release.
Over the next two decades, Extrema would remain active both live and with recorded offerings. There would be routine line up changes over time, but one member always remained consistent and dedicated, guitarist Tommy Massara.
Tommy would be the beating heart and lifeblood for the band’s ongoing releases, ones including 2001’s independently issued ‘Better Mad Than Dead‘, 2005’s album for V2 Records International ‘Set The World On Fire‘, and 2009’s ‘Pound For Pound‘ for Scarlet Records. With each new release came at least one or two official video clips, as well, like ‘Frowning And Haggard‘ from the last album on the list above.
Extrema would remain on Scarlet Records for yet another release, 2013’s ‘The Seed Of Foolishness‘. The band would stay a popular live act as their legacy continued to build, much of that due to their musical re-invention over the years. Refusing to stagnate or be ignored, Extrema has remained a constant provider of fiercely energized thrash metal for over thirty years since their inception.
In 2016, Extrema celebrated those three decades of kicking ass by independently releasing an EP, the right appropriately titled ‘The Old School‘. The seven-song album (five studio tracks and two live cuts) was recorded by the band’s most recent lineup. Which is, of course, Tommy Massara, alongside vocalist GL Perotti, bassist Gabri Giovanna, and drummer Francesco la Rosa. The band’s visualizer for the track ‘Carcasses‘ is a fine example of the band’s ongoing shredding intensity.
Just this past week news came that Extrema celebrated the 30th anniversary of their début release, ‘We Fuckin’ Care’.
The band is currently seeking a new vocalist, to get more information, please write and send you or your band’s studio and live videos to extrema[at]extremateam.com. It is evident that 2017 finds the Italian thrashers Extrema amped and ready to tackle the next thirty years!